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Camping in Croatia

The islands of Krk, Cres and Losinj fascinate!

Camping holiday at its best: Shining pebbles, rugged, rocky coasts in the azure blue water and scented pine forests in a Mediterranean summer heat. Croatia offers wonderful nature, attractive sports facilities and some of the best campsites in Europe. Two fellow roadsurfers made holidays with their children on the islands of Krk, Cres and Losinj in the Kvarner Bay – A fun holiday in the north of Croatia. So off we go with our roadtrip!

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Camping in Croatia  – the islands

Camping in Kvarner Bay with a VW T6

camping in croatia islands forest sea

You are planning a camping holiday in Krk, Cres or Losinj with a campervan? Then we have lots of useful tips with some top campsites in the Kvarner Bay, great excursions and advises for your route from Germany via Austria and Slovenia to Croatia.

From Munich via Slovenia to the island of Krk with a camper

We start at about 7 pm in Munich and drive the A8 towards Salzburg. We expect the worst in terms of traffic on this Bavarian summer holiday weekend but we actually get through without any problems at first.

We buy the Austrian 10-day Vignette for mandatory 10 euros at the infamous Irschenberg. Very convenient: The vignette for Slovenia is also offered here. Since we stay longer than 7 days, we need to buy a monthly vignette. We are told that the campervan, which is usually treated like a car, has to pay twice this year: 60 Euro! “Schoad!“, the Austrian would say but we don’t have an alternative – At least we think so. In fact, we were classified as transporters by accident and actually would have got away cheaper as a campervan with a fee of only 30 euros. Annoying, but let’s move on: Both etiquettes glued to the windscreen, we start driving via the Tauern motorway towards Carinthia.

We drive around the Karawanken tunnel and pass the steep Wurzenpass

We follow the upcoming traffic events via Google Maps: Full closure in the single-lane Karawanken tunnel due to an accident. We want to get around that of course. Our plan is now to bypass the tunnel via the Wurzenpass, where we feel like driving along a former smuggling route at night. Through deep forests with enormous increases, we wind our way through steep curves from Austria across the border to Slovenia. The hills are so high that the air doesn’t smell after noble fir needles but overstrained brakes. We don’t want to think of how it would be if we were driving with a large and wide caravan – Hurrah for our small and agile VW T6!

Unfortunately we are not cool enough…

Our original plan to make approximately 550 kilometers in 6 hours now doesn’t work anymore. Driving on the country road is, of course, a bit more exhausting and so we have to look for a place to spend the night in the Slovenian outback at 1 am in the morning. Unfortunately we are not cool enough for wild camping in the middle of nowhere which is why we decide for a shabby gas station – At least we have some light here. Next time, we’d like to be a little more courageous and go to a more beautiful place. But for now we have to raise the roof, take the sleeping bag out of the cupboard and close our eyes.

No ferry at all: Via Rijeka and the bridge to the nearest island of Krk

We wake up in the next morning early due to the noise of the petrol station and drive strengthened by coffee and croissant towards Rijeka – The largest city in the coastal region near Krk. Fascinated by gigantic posters that point to exchange offices – of course all without commission (!) – we cross the border without a single Croatian Kuna in our pockets. The little cubbyholes make no trustworthy impression. First of all, we try to pay with the supposed all-time favorite Euro. Not the best idea since we already have problems to pay with Euro on Krk.

Holiday feeling comes up quickly on Krk

camping in croatia islands Krk sunrise

The trip over the bridge to Krk is wonderful and the view of the Kvarner Bay in bright summer sunshine is stunning! But at first sight, the holiday island presents itself a bit barren and the idyll is disturbed by the partly rusty looking industry. But as soon as we arrive on the island, we switch off the air conditioning and let the Mediterranean macchia smell into our camper what creates an immediate holiday feeling.

Camping on Krk: Beautiful gravel bays, crystal clear water and great campsites

We are heading towards our first campsite: Camping Nivijce in the northeast of Krk. This campsite has a beautiful wide and large gravel beach and is close to the small village of Nivijce with its picturesque marina and nice restaurants for dinner. There are only a few pitches directly at the water, but many plots offer sea view and are only a short walk from the beach and the small promenade with a beach bar. For children, the first highlight is the newly built, modern reception area: While the parents check in, the kids can hop into the ball pool after a long drive. The only way to get them out is the prospect of a trip with the small electric car over the campsite – After all, we still need a nice parking lot now!

Camping on Krk: Beautiful gravel bays, crystal clear water and great campsites

We are heading towards our first campsite: Camping Nivijce in the northeast of Krk. This campsite has a beautiful wide and large gravel beach and is close to the small village of Nivijce with its picturesque marina and nice restaurants for dinner. There are only a few pitches directly at the water, but many plots offer sea view and are only a short walk from the beach and the small promenade with a beach bar. For children, the first highlight is the newly built, modern reception area: While the parents check in, the kids can hop into the ball pool after a long drive. The only way to get them out is the prospect of a trip with the small electric car over the campsite – After all, we still need a nice parking lot now!

Near the beach bar we find what we are looking for

We didn’t make a reservation in advance and experience that it is hardly possible to get a nice pitch near the beach for longer than one night in August. But since we don’t want to go to the back corner either, we take the pitch near the beach bar (Good live music in the evening!). Marquee out, table and chairs put up and then immediately off into the water! With 34 degrees in the shadow we actually don’t get out there all day long.

Our top 3 campsites on Krk

  1. Camping Nivijce – Gorgeous long gravel beach, nice beach bar, close to seaport, great for families with children
  2. Camping Glavotok – Beautifully located next to the historic village of Glovotok, but a very rocky beach that isn’t suitable for children
  3. Camping Jezevac – Lovely wide pebble beach! In any case, reserve seats in the front row in advance 

The golden island: Highlights on Krk – Sights and the beauty of nature

Krk is one of the most beautiful islands of the northern Adriatic – Unlike Cres or Losinj, which are connected by a bridge – and has a lot to offer both regionally and culturally. In addition to the almost infinite hilly island, the “golden island” fascinates with romantic waterfalls in the inland, medieval towns such as Krk and small picturesque marinas like in Nivijce.

The VW Camper always finds a place to stay

It’s a 30 minutes’ drive with our roadsurfer camper from the campingsite Nivijce to the capital of the island with the same name Krk. We quickly find a fee-based parking lot in front of the old town’s gates. Even though campervans are not allowed here, the VW bus is accepted as a normal passenger car thanks to the folding roof. Check.

The music boxes are a lot of fun

In Krk, it is worth to take a stroll through the narrow streets to the 5th century cathedral with its marble altar, Corinthian stone columns and Christian symbols. On our way through Krk, children and adults alike are fascinated by the small music boxes along the way, from which walkers themselves can conjure up various well-known melodies. By the way, they are handmade here.

Every shot a hit – not!

Of course we also visit the small “Knight’s castle” at the harbor and enjoy the beautiful view of the Croatian coast. The Frankopan castle has centuries-old stone entrances and a bell tower, knight’s armor and an old grain scale. The highlight of our visit: We try a crossbow shooting on the outer wall of the castle for the first time and shoot 3 arrows on or alternatively next to the target for 15 Kuna. Well, it was worth a try. We reward ourselves with a delicious mussel meal and an evening walk – of course with ice cream – at the marina.

The small island Košljun with a Franciscan monastery is located in a small bay east of the city of Krk – But we saved this trip for our next visit.

roadsurfer tip:

For those, who want to make an excursion from Krk, we suggest a trip with one of the small semi-submarines: The underwater windows give a good impression of the Adriatic underwater world for all ages and departs almost every hour from the port. If you need it faster, you can explore the Kvarner Bay on an adrenalin tour with a 900 hp speedboat.

From Krk to Cres: Take the ferry and explore the next island

camping in croatia islands Krk

Actually, we like Krk so much that we could just stay here – But our curiosity about the Croatian island world drives us forward. After 3 days camping on Krk we decide for the neighboring island of Cres as our next stop. It’s a 30 minutes’ drive south of the island until we arrive at the ferry dock Valsbiska. Here we realize that we’re not travelling alone: The queue reaches a few kilometers up the road and we other, more experienced Croatia tourists told us, that we have to get off the bus, stomp down the road and buy a ticket in advance down at the jetty. If you don’t do this, you run the risk of not coming on the ferry in the next “Go”. The transit ticket to Cres costs for the VW bus with two adults (children under 6 years don’t need to pay) approx. 25 euros per route.

roadsurfer tip: It is not worth to book the ferry from Krk to Cres in advance. Simply buy the ferry ticket to Cres directly on the pier as you can’t drive around the line of cars anyway.

Looking for a nice campsite on Cres

camping in croatia islands Reception

We wait about an hour, then we are already on the boat and enjoy the ferry trip through the Kvarner Bay. Unfortunately, the transit only takes about 40 minutes to Merag on Cres. With the great weather, we would have liked to drive a bit longer. As we get off the ship in the convoy and speed over the island, we notice that the landscape of Cres hardly differs from Krk at first sight. We also didn’t book a campsite in advance here, because we want to get a picture of ourselves first. Nevertheless, some of our friends recommended the following three campsites:

Our top 3 campsites on Cres

  1. Camping Kovacine – Large campsite near the ferry pier, gravel beach, partly beautiful pine forest pitches, variety of water sport activities
  2. Camping Baldarin – Very secluded, romantic campsite, very quiet bay, mostly nudist
  3. Camping Slatina – Especially suitable for dog owners

First, we don’t find what we’re looking for

We decide to stop at all three campsites from north to south. Camping Kovacine on Cres is the first one on our map as it is close to the ferry terminal. Since it’s already advertised on large posters on the main street of the island, it won’t be an insider tip, we guess.

We understand the huge dimension of this Croatian campsite while we have to find a parking lot by foot at 38 degrees in the midday heat. Equipped with a site map and a bottle of water, we set off and are not very impressed by the first “3,000” pitches in the upper area. But after a 15 minutes’ walk we reach the beautiful pebble beach in the bay with the nearby pine forest. We would like to stay here, also because of the water sports offer – But after a closer look, the cement bathing platform frightens us off again. After an hour we give up looking for a pitch. Our conclusion: We can’t find a place for us here!

Camping with dogs or nudist camping – Cres offers many possibilities

Our next stop is Camping Slatina, which is praised everywhere as a campsite for dog owners. Since we ourselves have no dog, we skip this campsite and drive in the south of the island of Cres to the nudist campsite Baldarin.

Off we go to the nudism Camping Baldarin. For us, a nudist camping holiday is an absolute world premiere and the idea of greeting our neighbors naked is a bit queasy.

But the small road through olive groves to the southern tip of the island of Cres is already worth the trip. When we arrive, we are at least allowed to explore the campsite by bus and do not have to walk around. To be honest, the sea here is so quiet and thus looks more like a village pond. Despite that, the idyll is somehow not very tempting here – At least not for windsurfers. However, stand-up paddle fans, will get their money worth here.

NUDISM? Well, let’s have a look . . .

And then comes the shock (for us!): Leaving the less attractive textile area through a barrier, we realize, that actually everyone is naked! We are amazed and put on our sunglasses for safety’s sake since our looks could betray our nudist virginity.

Certainly, the spirits are divided when it comes to nude camping and we also think that it could be the best choice in Croatia: No need to wash your clothes, dry your wet bathing clothes, walk to the washhouse without luggage, and much more. BUT we realize this type of camping is not made for us! We cannot sit naked in the restaurant, push our children naked on the playground or ask our neighbors for a lighter being naked.

The nudist project comes to an early end

Nevertheless, a dreamlike sea view pitch in the first row on the nudist camping site Cres is very welcoming! This is the most beautiful place we have seen so far in Croatia and we actually would have enough private space for us. Unfortunately, this pitch is reserved and we decide to end our nudist project at this point. Our next stop is another recommendation about 45 minutes away, which we are now heading for.

Camping auf Inseln Kroatien Losinji

Camping Losinj: Exploring the most beautiful island of the northern Adriatic by VW bus!

The small medieval town of Osor is picturesquely situated – Right between Cres and Losinj, where the islands are connected by a small, narrow piece of land. Via a narrow road – Water on the left and right – we cross over to the most southern of the three islands and enjoy the trip along the coast with our roadsurfer.

We already see many small bays from the road that are best explored by boat. Colorful houses and Mediterranean flair make this small Adriatic island a perfect holiday destination with delicious ice cream, Cevapcici and seafood.

Food in Croatia: Specialities of the Kvarner Bay

The Kvarner Bay is best known for cheese from the islands or the mountains (“Knarrkäse”), raw ham (“Prsut”), as well as green and black olives. The combination reminds us of Spanish tapas. Besides, lamb roasted on a spit (“Na raznju”) or traditionally baked in the oven (“Janjetina ispod peke”), octopus salad, scampi, scorpion fish, venison, yeast cakes and fried meat are also very popular. And, not forgetting, the suckling pigs, sometimes offered on the roadside or even directly on the campsite! To be honest, we limit ourselves mostly to spaghetti scolgio, which can be found everywhere, or the popular Cevapcici – Preferably on our camping grill at the campsite in Mali Losinj.

Mali Losinj and Camping Cikat with the campervan

camping in croatia islands kids sea

Passing Camping Lopari and Camping Poljana, which we both didn’t like so much, we head to the next recommendation, the Camping Cikat, with our camper. Along the so-called dolphin bay (You can sometimes see porpoises but unfortunately we missed them!) and the small town Mali Losinj (Reachable in 15 minutes by foot from the campsite), we arrive at the large pine forest where the campsite Cikat is located with numerous sea view pitches.

Large aquapark with salt water included

We enjoy the shadow of the big trees at meanwhile 38 degrees outside temperature and plunge directly into the Aquapark Cikat (Attention, it is filled with salt water!) and competitively slide on the ropes. If you like the hustle around an aqua gym as well as a slide paradise for children, you’re right here! But for us, one visit will be enough.

We finally arrived at our destination: In the evening, we enjoy a wonderful sunset with a beer in the hand and sit on the headland from where the sun shines into the sea. In fact, we have rarely seen such a pink sky! And it was really just ONE beer!

In the following days, we explore the neighboring bays with a lot of water sports and small restaurants with our bicycles (They have really proved themselves!). The Nobel Bay next to Cikat with the 5-star hotel “Bellevue” attracts tourists from all over Europe looking for relaxation in the turquoise blue water around the island of Losinj.

Boat trip to Losinj, Susak and Ilovik

camping in croatia islands

Croatia is a paradise for boaters par excellence – But the word got around in the meantime. Due to a very calm sea, the small bays and attractive jetties, everyone who doesn’t get seasick already on a canoe should go on the water.

Our tips:

  • Rent a canoe in the neighboring bay of Cikat and paddle from bay to bay.
  • Rent a Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) at Camping Cikat and prove your stability even at light waves.
  • The hottest thing are giant swimming animals! Whether flamingo, unicorn, swan, pineapple or pizza – EVERYONE has an even bigger floating animal!
  • Boat trip from the Mali Losinj harbor: Jump from rocks, snorkel in a grotto and drive to the island of Ilovik – Food and drinks are prepared on board.
  • You have a boating license? Camping Cikat has a small stand on the beach where you can rent a boat for 150 Euro per day. This is a gift compared to other southern European countries.

We’re both lucky enough to have a boating license and so we circle the island in one day and swim and snorkel in the bays of Losinj. Besides, we stop at Ilovik (It has a sandy bay with Caribbean flair!) and in Veli Losinj. Hardly any other holiday region offers so much peace, relaxation and, yes, a bit of sleepiness in addition to the tourist offer. You will definitely reduce your stress level here!

All in all, we like Mali Losinj the best of all three islands in Kvarner Bay. Thus, if you want to explore Krk, Cres or Losinj with a camper, take some extra time here. It’s worth the trip!

Camping on Losinj, Krk and Cres

The range of campsites on the islands of Kvarner Bay is enormous and diverse. All campsites on Krk, Cres or Losinj are quite large, beautifully located by the sea and have much shadow due to pine forests. You really can’t do anything wrong here. Our recommendation: If you want to stay longer in one place, you should reserve in advance at least in the high season. On the other hand, you don’t need to book the ferry from Krk to Cres beforehand.

With this in mind, we hope to arouse your interest in our Camping in Croatia project! Our tip: “Camping in Croatia with a campervan: Rent a camper and drive the Kvarner Bay”, is definitely one of the most beautiful road trips in Europe!

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